The Solomon Islands is a nation composed of hundreds of islands in the South Pacific. In 2022, it signed a security pact with China, causing uproar among some of its neighbours, including Australia, and concern for countries such as the US that have strategic interests in the area.
Not even Scott Morrison’s apparent strength in foreign affairs and national security could save his Liberal Party from defeat, but new PM Anthony Albanese faces a daunting challenge.
With the security pact between China and the island nation signed, great power rivalry and hysteria have now extended from the South China Sea to the South Pacific.
Australia, New Zealand and the United States are worried that Beijing’s growing influence in the South Pacific is threatening their traditional regional dominance, but such thinking is disrespectful.
Violence that has gripped the islands’ capital underlines how foreign players may have a destabilising effect, especially when failing to understand or consider social and political undercurrents.
Ultimately, if climate science is right, the Solomons’ greatest need for aid could be in meeting the threat to whole communities of rising sea levels attributed to global warming
The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands will not attend this week’s annual Pacific Islands Forum, which also counts Australia and New Zealand among its members.
The Compact of Free Association pact, which has steered ties between Washington and the Marshall Islands since 1986, expired on Saturday.
China’s Vice-Foreign Minister for Asia Sun Weidong meets Daniel Kritenbrink, US Assistant Secretary of State, for ‘candid, in-depth and constructive consultation’ on regional issues, including Taiwan and maritime issues.
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American leader extols ‘security, prosperity and dignity’ for Oceanic allies and partners in latest response to China’s decades-long inroads in region.
The White House is hosting Pacific island leaders on Monday as Biden promises to take US engagement in region to ‘next level’ but there are notable absences from the meeting.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called on Japan to find other options and warned of effects on his South Pacific archipelago.
Summit between American president and region’s leaders will be second in a year as Washington seeks to counter Beijing’s push for clout.
Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia’s ruling FLNKS party are meeting to consider declaring a ‘region of peace and neutrality’, as the nations are at the centre of a geopolitical contest.
The US secretary of state delivered a barbed warning about aid and investment from Beijing as he became the first American foreign minister to visit the Pacific island nation.
For the third time in two months, the US secretary of state is coming back to the region – to talk Aukus, New Zealand’s Beijing diplomacy and show Pacific island nations that it’s a ‘willing partner’, analysts say.
Canberra fears the police cooperation plan ‘will invite further regional contest’ in the Pacific, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s office said.
Peace Ark’s medical personnel will provide free services during stops in Kiribati, the Solomons, Tonga, Vanuatu and East Timor.
Australia’s deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles visits the Solomon Islands as China takes a bigger role in the Pacific nation’s police force.
There’s around a 20cm difference between children in the tallest and shortest nations, studies have found. Genes are part of the reason, but environmental factors such as poor diet could be more important.
US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John Aquilino tells New York forum he is ‘ready and willing’ to meet counterparts.
Washington plans new embassies as island nations become key arena for competition, while Beijing faces hurdles in building trust and people-to-people ties, according to observers.
National security at stake amid Beijing’s ‘economic coercion’ in region, says US special presidential envoy Joseph Yun.
Yoshimasa Hayashi’s trip is the first time a Japanese FM has headed to the island state, which last year signed a security pact with Beijing.
Outgoing leader David Panuelo detailed allegations of Chinese espionage, coercion of government officials and ‘direct threats’ against his personal safety.
The US had closed its old embassy in 1993, but is now seeking to boost its diplomatic presence in the Pacific amid Beijing’s push into the region.
It will initially be staffed by 2 American diplomats at 5 local employees at a cost of US$1.8 million, with plans for an expanded facility in the future.
China shipped two water cannon trucks, 30 motorbikes and 20 SUVs to the Solomons’ police force after Australia gave 60 short-barrelled rifles and 13 vehicles this week.
Australia and New Zealand provided one-third of all aid to the Pacific region in 2020 while Chinese aid dropped to its lowest level since 2008, according to a new report by the Lowy Institute think tank.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare reiterated that the Solomons will never be used for foreign military installations after a bilateral security agreement with China signed early this year raised concerns.
Remarks by foreign minister Jeremiah Manele marked first time Solomons publicly acknowledged concerns about the deal and why it had a change of heart.
This week’s event in Washington is expected to conclude with a partnership declaration that will open the way to US$860 million investment in the region.